|Tips for Making 2014 Successful!
How Can We Make Our 2014 New Yearís Resolutions Successful?
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, just 8 percent of Americans actually achieve their resolutions by yearís end.
Yet, technology has made it easier to perform feats that were impossible years before, so why shouldnít it aid us in keeping our resolutions, too?
If you are unable to get to the gym regularly, there are any number of desktop and mobile apps available today that can support you in reaching your goals during those days/weeks when you are either traveling or just to busy to get to the gym. Several are listed below that cover both exercise and healthy eating:
Goal: I Resolve To Exercise More
ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief Owen Thomasís ReadWriteBody series offers some great apps for monitoring physical fitness. He advises that you look for apps with additional incentives to keep you on track.
- Pact (iOS/Android) offers financial motivation. The app, formerly known, as GymPact, charges you a fee for missing your workout, and gives you a payout if you do make it (paid for by non-exercising app-users). It just started offering new pacts for logging your food and eating fruits and vegetables, with a similar fee structure.
- If routines bore you, you can switch it up with customized workouts. Gain Fitness (iOS) offers interactive, customizable workouts crafted by personal trainers, so users can find routines tailored to their fitness level, schedule and goals.
- With FitStar (iOS), you can wake up each morning to a new body-lifting workoutóno weights or other equipment required.
- For some healthy competition, look to apps like Strava (iOS/Android), a GPS tracker that lets you compete against your fastest time on a given bike or running pathóor compare your speed with others. And MapMyFitness (iOS/Android) will alert you whenever friends are working out to inspire you to hit the gym.
Goal: I Resolve To Eat Healthy
- MyFitnessPal (iOS/Android) is an app with a calorie-counter diary so you can log everything you eat and track what youíre actually consuming. It can also work as a meal planner. So if you know youíll order dessert at the dinner tonight, you can work the rest of your meals that day around it.
- Want to cut certain foods, like alcohol, sodium or allergy/heartburn triggers? Substitutions (iOS) is a 99-cent app that lists easy-to-find alternatives to these ingredients, so you can cook your favorite recipes and still eat better.
- Trying to avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in your food this year? True Food (iOS/Android), the Center for Food Safetyís official app, can identify foods with GMOs right in the grocery aisles.
- If you're resolving to eat locally this year, apps such as Locavore (iOS/Android) make it simple to find farmersí markets and farms that provide in-season food near you.
Make Some Resolutions That Encompass Behavior Changes
For a well-rounded year of success, try improving certain behavior changes to improve overall attitude and well being:
Learn to Compliment
Paying someone a compliment is in itself a great action, but as a habit it's even better. Learning to pay compliments means learning to pay closer attention to people in your life and the small changes that they make. Most of us spend a great deal of time and consideration on who we are and how we look, and getting recognized for it can be a great feeling. Besides the fact that you'll feel better for paying more compliments, you'll find that people start to warm up to you when you take the time to recognize them for who they are and what they do.
Try to Make Small Daily Changes
Creating a long list of New Yearís resolutions might seem like a good idea, but taking on too much at once can overwhelm you and discourage you if you canít focus your motivation. If you really want to keep your resolution(s), itís best to start off by making small changes every day to slowly work toward your ultimate goal.
Keep Things Simple
If your goal is to lose ten pounds, try non-fat milk in your latte one day and the next day, try adding an additional 15 minutes of free weights to your strength training workout at the gym. The more of these little changes you make in your daily life, the more likely theyíll eventually stick as a healthy habit. Itís challenging enough to change a single behavior, so taking on less will likely give you a better chance to succeed.
Spend Your Time Wisely
Do Efficient Workouts
Who has time to work out for two hours a day? Working out for hours and hours each day is not only time-consuming, but also boring, which can zap your motivation, ultimately preventing you from achieving your goals. Instead of a long sweat session, do shorter, high-intensity, interval workouts (HIIT). Youíll actually torch more calories in a shorter session that mixes up high intensity training with short rest periods than in doing long, drawn-out workouts.
Schedule Your Workouts Each Week
Think you donít have time to exercise? Try this tactic: Look at your weekly calendar and find blocks of free time (even as little as 15 minutes) to schedule some workouts for the upcoming week. If you spend a little time scheduling your workouts for the week, just like you would do with other obligations, theyíll become appointments that you canít miss. When you look at your calendar and see all of your appointments it helps you stick to your resolution.
Eat nutritiously 80% of the time
Many weight loss experts, like Jillian Michaels, recommend making 80% of the calories you consume healthy and nutritious and saving the remaining 20% for not-so-healthy-foods. This strategy makes changing your eating habits a lot more manageable because, if you cut out all of your favorite foods, youíll feel deprived and end up over eating them later.
Eliminating indulgences may initially help you lose weight, but itís not a realistic, long-term solution. If you eat well the majority of the time, a few treats here and there wonít hurt your overall weight loss efforts and your diet will feel more balanced, enabling you to stick to it.
Donít Worry About What the Scale Says
The scale is a good measure of overall weight loss, but it doesnít tell you the whole story, especially when it comes to daily weigh-in. Obsessing over the scale every morning is not a healthy habit or an accurate gauge of your progress. Water retention and hormones can add a few pounds to the reading, and if your weight-loss plan includes strength training, you may even gain weight from increased muscle mass while still losing fat.
Instead of getting caught up in what the scale says, measure your weight loss in inches and how your clothes fit. Be sure to look at the big picture when it comes to weight loss progress. The scale can be helpful, but remember thereís so much more to the story!
We'll See You At The Gym!
|Foods That Fight Holiday Stress
|Foods That Fight Holiday Stress
During the holidays, the last thing on your wish list is to add more stress. After all, over time, stress can increase fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease, and belly fat. To fight unwanted stress, stock up on foods that are made for fighting holiday insanity! Here are a few that will propel you to clean eating while adding vitamins and minerals known to battle stress.
Oatmeal: As cute and yummy as Christmas Oatmeal Cookies are, their refined carbs spur an overproduction of insulin that's not only linked to sugar crashes but spikes in stress hormones as well. Reach for a warm bowl of oatmeal instead. It contains the healthy carbohydrates and fiber needed to boost serotonin levels for a full three hours.
Turkey: Turkey contains high concentrations of tryptophan, which is broken down to form serotonin to induce feelings of calm and even help your body make drowse-inducing melatonin," says Kimberly Gomer, a registered dietitian and educator at the Pritikin Longevity Center. But remember, if that tryptophan is going to reach your brain, you need to pair it with some carbs.
Almonds: Almonds are simply amazing! They are brimming with vitamin E and B vitamins, which may protect both your immune system and mood. A handful of almonds packs about 20% of your daily-recommended intake of magnesium, which fights free radicals in the body. Not getting enough magnesium can even cause fatigue and trigger migraine headaches. And since, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nearly seven out of 10 Americans don't get enough of the nutrient, it's a good bet that low magnesium levels have you on edge--the trick is to remember that a handful is just that--a handful, even daily--but no more.
Sweet Potatoes: Here's a whole new reason to give thanks: With more nutrients than their colorless cousin, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, which improves mood by preventing the formation of pro-inflammatory compounds, like interleukin-6, that are linked to depression, says Melinda R. Ring, MD, Medical Director of Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Sweet potatoes are also high in other mood enhancers like B6 and magnesium.
Salmon: The fish of all fish! All omega-3 fatty acids are good for you, but when it comes to battling holiday stress, DHA and EPA are the ones you need. Found primarily in fatty fish like salmon, they support healthy brain cell function, endorphin levels, and positive moods by keeping cortisol and adrenaline levels in check. One serving of salmon contains more than half of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin D, which most women fail to meet during the winter because of a lack of sunlight. One University of Texas study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that the lower your blood levels of vitamin D, the greater your chance of having clinical depression.
Lentils: Lentils are the perfect comfort foodóand not just because they're hearty, filling, and perfectly warm on cold winter days. They are also packed with depression-fighting folate, which helps make serotonin and dopamine, possibly explaining why up to half of people who suffer from depression have low folate levels. Folate's so important to mood that many anti-depressant medications even contain the nutrient. If you find yourself experiencing more high-lows than chronic lows, good news: lentils are also a great source of fiber, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you from snapping under stress.
Oysters: Oysters contain more than seven times the zinc per serving of any other food. Zinc deficiency can cause depression and anxiety, and supplementation is an effective form of treatment, according to a 2010 study from the Florida State University College of Medicine. If seafood isn't your thing, reach for cuts of beef and poultry. While whole grains and fortified breakfast cereals also contain zinc, their phytates can inhibit zinc's absorption in the body and dull its effect.
Next time you're at the grocery store, add these healthy stress battlers to your list and enjoy!
Happy Holidays! We'll see you at the gym!
|Tips for Avoiding Stress During the Holidays
Tips for Avoiding Stress During the Holidays
The National Mental Health Association reports that more people experience post-holiday let down after January 1 than they do during the holidays themselves, often resulting from disappointments during the preceding months compounded with excess fatigue and stress.
If weíre not mindful of how we are approaching this season, stress could rob us of the real joy that the holidays can bring. To avoid holiday stress and depression, begin by setting reasonable expectations of yourself and others with goals that are manageable.
Create a master to-do list that you can then break down into weekly and daily lists to avoid relying strictly on memory or loosing track of tasks. Organize your time and prioritize activities. Spreading out activities over time will reduce stress and allow more time to enjoy individual experiences.
Here are several tips on how to enjoy the holidays to the fullest from the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life:
Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a dietary free-for-all. Some indulgence is OK, but overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard. Continue to get plenty of sleep and schedule time for physical activity.
Acknowledge your feelings. If a loved one has recently passed away or you aren't near your loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness or grief. It's OK now and then to take time just to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy (all the time) just because it's the holiday season.
Seek support. If you feel isolated or down, seek out family members and friends, the church community, or area social services. They can offer support and companionship.
Consider volunteering at a community or church function. Getting involved and helping others can lift your spirits and broaden your social circle.
Be realistic. As families change and grow, traditions often change as well. Hold on to those you can and want to. However, understand in some cases that may no longer be possible. Perhaps your entire extended family can't gather at your house. Instead, find new ways to celebrate together from afar, such as sharing pictures, e-mails, or connecting through social media like Skype.
Set differences aside. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all your expectations. Be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress, too.
Stick to a budget. Before you go shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend on gifts and other items.
Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends, and other activities. Plan your menus and then make one big food-shopping trip. That'll help prevent a last-minute scramble to buy forgotten ingredients.
If traveling, allow extra time so that delays won't worsen your stress.
Learn to say no. Believe it or not, people will understand if you can't do certain projects or activities. If you say yes only to what you really want to do, you'll avoid feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do.
Rethink resolutions. Resolutions can set you up for failure if they're unrealistic. Don't resolve to change your whole life to make up for past excess. Instead, try to return to basic, healthy lifestyle routines.
Forget about perfection. Holiday TV specials are filled with happy endings. But in real life, people don't usually resolve problems within an hour or two. Something always comes up. Expect and accept imperfections.
As you move through the coming days, take time out from the activities around you to be still. Remember the primary focus of this time of celebration. Choose thoughts and actions that will anchor that purpose as the season unfolds--a season of joy, of hope, of promise, of peace.
Happy Holidays! We'll see you at the gym!
|You're Already a Member!
You can control your own wellness
One of the biggest fears all women share is becoming old and
frail and losing the ability to care for herself as she ages. Aging is
something that happens all of us and is part of the process of life. We will
age and we will die and the world goes on.
How we age, however, defined as the quality of life we
choose to live, is something we can control. It is estimated over 70% of the
diseases of aging are self-inflicted and can either be eliminated or at least
reduced in their impact on how a woman ages.
Living a rich, full life until you simply get too old to
care is within the power of most women and is determined by the choices you
make each and every day. There are two women in my life that represent both
extremes of the choices you have available, yet most women still believe their
lives are not theirs to change and that you are controlled by some wind of fate
that sets your path in stone. This simply isnít true.
One woman is 78, weighs about 105 pounds and is now fighting
lung cancer. Her life is small and she is a product of the choices she has made
for the last few decades. She still smokes, refuses to exercise, eats poorly
and is constantly in a state of dehydration. She also has slowly isolated
herself from everyone around her and has little reason to get up and go in the
The other woman lived until she was 81 and was still
bowling, golfing, exercising and living a full life surrounded by friends until
the last few months of her life. She died of ALS, which is something you canít
control, but the quality of her life was exceptional and a product of how you
chose to live.
Here are five things you can do now to ensure that your life
will always be lived at the highest level possible as you age:
∑ Move everyday for at least an hour and lift
weights twice a week. You need steady movement, a little intense movement and
muscle to keep you structurally sound. Struggling with those grocery bags or
canít pick up the grandchild? Your body is already fading and you need to fight
hard to keep that strength and flexibility as long as you can. Remember that fitness
is motion and motion is life.
∑ Eat well and eat whole, healthy foods. Eliminate
as much as you can that is not fresh, comes in a bag or wrapper, has
ingredients you canít pronounce or has a shelf life of more than a few days.
Choose single ingredient foods, such as chicken, fish, vegetables and fruit and
stay away from processed junk.
∑ If you smoke, stop. No matter what your age,
smoking will kill you faster than any other thing you can do to yourself.
∑ Drink at least half your body weight in ounces
of water each day. Coffee, teas and juices donít count. In fact, most of you
would be better off without fruit juice because of the sugar and calories.
∑ Get connected. Go to church, keep your friends,
visit people, volunteer, work or do something that keeps you with people.
You canít stop the aging process, but you can refuse to go
willing into the dark. Type 2 diabetes, most heart problems and most cancers
are the result of poor life choices. Make better choices, live longer and be that pain in the butt old lady that's still is out there golfing at 90.
Yours in fitness,
|Get Strong and Bail on your Scale!
|Get Strong and Bail on your Scale
"My pants are all fitting looser. But is it possible I could be gaining weight?" This line of questioning opened a training session last week. She went on to explain that while her clothing was fitting better than ever, she was very concerned that the number on the scale had gone up a few pounds. Prior to us working together, the treadmill had been her primary source of exercise, with only light weight, high repetition strength training making up a portion of her workouts. She has been getting stronger every week. She is now seeing evidence that she was getting leaner as well. So why did that few pounds on the scale matter? When pressed for an answer she couldn't even provide one. I went on to explain that the scale measures weight. Nothing more, nothing less. The scale doesn't know if you are male or female. The scale doesn't know if you are very fat or very lean. The scale doesn't even know if its measuring a 120 pound human or a 120 pound rock.
She went on to reference the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI calculates a number based on height and weight. This number classifies you as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. She wanted to stay within a certain range on the scale. To put it mildly, the BMI is bogus. The formula came from a mathematician in Belgium nearly 200 years ago. it doesn't factor in body composition and basically assumes low muscle mass and high relative body fat. In a recent study the BMI has shown that half of the NFL is obese and nearly all are overweight. According to the BMI half the NBA is overweight. These are some of the most lean and conditioned athletes on earth. Yet the scale and a 200 year old mathematician are conspiring to say they are fat.
A steady diet of cardio and the scale is a recipe for frustration. Yet it is a cycle so many women find themselves in. 3 Days a week of running, near starvation diets and daily cringe inducing treks up onto the scale. Does that sound familiar? So what is the right answer? First off the only number you should be concerned with if any, is your body fat %. You want to look lean? Lower that number. We could put 2 women on the scale the exact same height with the scale reading the exact same number. Yet one could be a size 2 and the other a size 8. It's all based on body composition.
So how do we best affect body composition? First and foremost it starts with food. We have to create a deficit in calories while also taking in nutrients essential for the changes we are trying to make. 3500 calories burned equals a pound of fat lost. So if we are burning 300 calories on the treadmill 3 days a week (and that's generous for some of you walkers) then that's 900 a week. If your nutrition is perfect you're looking at 13 pounds lost...IN A YEAR. Which I suppose isn't horrible if your goal is to lose 13 pounds and you're VERY patient. But what if you want to lose 30 pounds? Or 50? Or 100? See where I'm going with this? This is why we emphasize strength training and high intensity interval training so much at The Woman's Workout Company.
"I want to lose fat." We hear it everyday. When my response is "add muscle to your frame," women always panic. Images of steroid enhanced she-monsters flood their minds. Relax. Simply put, women do not have the body chemistry to build huge muscles. It's no coincidence that the leanest women we have at WWC are also our strongest women. It goes hand in hand. The vast majority of the calories we burn each day are burned based on our resting metabolic rate. It's the calories we burn at rest from all our bodies processes. Guess what? Having more muscle increases how many calories we burn every day. So it's not only about the calories we burn during that strength training workout (though that will equal or exceed your treadmill work) it's about making our body more metabolically active at ALL TIMES. And why high intensity interval training? This style of training versus normal steady state cardio has been shown to boost your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours post workout. That's 2 days of burning more calories than you otherwise would. So again, it's not just about calories burned during the workout. If it was, weight loss would be a much longer road. For you girls that love the treadmill, look at them as bonus calories. Burning an extra few hundred can never hurt. But that is only if strength and HIIT training are the foundation.
In summation, worry more about how your clothes fit than any number on a scale. If you need a number to stay goal oriented then focus on your body fat %. Eat clean, pick up heavy things often, and move quickly. You're on your way to a whole new you.
Woman's Workout Company Program Director
|Cindy Harris Testimonial
|The following is a testimonial we received and wanted to share as inspiration for each and every one of our members or anyone thinking they can't workout! Do you have a story you'd like to share? If so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After dancing, gymnastics and cheerleading throughout my childhood and then going through my twenties raising a family at the same time the aerobics craze hit, I began feeling discomfort in my knees, hip and lower back. Staying active my whole life, working out five times a week, this discomfort became more painful and started becoming a burden on my lifestyle. But being the type of person I am, I couldn't let it stop me. Exercise is too important to my well being, it gives me the energy to keep me going through busy days of being a mother, housewife, animal caretaker, business owner, hairstylist and now Pilates instructor.
In my mid-thirties I started with arthroscopic surgery on both knees. Then physical therapy for my back. After a year of therapy on my knees, I got some relief but still had hip clicking and back pain while exercising. I tried Pilates and started to listen and become aware of my body, discovering the imbalances and weaker muscles that I had throwing off my body's alignment, causing my ailments to become worse! I worked on these problems faithfully and did the best I could to stay in shape, but unfortunately developed osteoarthritis in my lower back, knees and hip. Doing this course of treatment of drugs and cortisone shots was my venture for the next 10 years. Af 46 years of age I was told I needed a new hip. Of course, I thought I was much too young and the doctor agreed and told me I would know when I was ready. So throughout the next year I became more and more limited in my exercise regime. Standing and walking was becoming more painful daily and I was very frustrated.
At 47 I decided it was time to go ahead with the procedure. I had to wait six months for my surgery date. I had no choice, so I decided this wouldn't stop me from going to the gym and I had the doctor's blessing to keep exercising. I continued to get my workouts in to help keep my mind stress free and to keep my body as healthy as I could in order to have a speedy recovery. The surgery day finally came and now, 9 months later, I can do exercises pain free that I couldn't do for years. It was the best decision I made, not only having the surgery, but more importantly, continuing to workout while waiting. My doctor was proud of me, I was up and walking the next day and couldn't wait to get rid of the walker, crutches and rehab. During my three days in rehab I was constantly cruising up and down the hallways and asking for more therapy time (it was like going to the gym for me). Six days after surgery, I went home - some people spend up to a month in rehab. I was released from home physical therapy my first day because I already knew all the exercises, went to out-patient therapy for a month and at my six week post-op asked if I could go back to the gym - and the doctor said YES! Thanks to my determination to never give up and to have The Woman's Workout Company to go to, it has been a huge success!
|Enjoy a guilt-free summer
Summertime and the living is easy!
Sure it is, until Labor Day when you step on the scale! Schoolís out, the kids are home and the schedule goes out the window along with your fitness routine!
In the last few weeks, Iíve talked to many women who have expressed concern about not being able to the gym this summer, either due to kids being home from school or from the desire to wanting to get that prime real estate on your favorite beach. Remember, WWC does have child care, so that you can enjoy this important time for yourself, but for those days that it just doesnít happen, here are a few suggestions of how you can stay trim this summer.
Play hard. If youíre at the beach, go ahead and jump in the water! You donít need to be an Olympic swimmer to enjoy the benefits of swimming. If youíre a mom or a grandparent of a toddler, tossing him/her around in the water is sure to get your heart pumping and give your legs and shoulders a great workout.
Take a bike ride. If youíve been pedaling away all winter in the spin room, you know what a great workout cycling can be. Taking it out on the road can be a whole new experience and one that can involve the whole family. We are so fortunate to have a beautiful bike path here on the Cape. Itís a great way to enjoy the outdoors, take in the scenery of cranberry bogs and lakes while getting a workout. If you donít own a bike, there are lots of places that you can rent for the day. Barbís Bike Shop is located in Dennis at the beginning of the Cape Cod Rail Trail.
Intensity Matters. If youíre not able to get to the gym as often, make sure that when you do get there, make it count. Challenge yourself by doing intervals of high intensity exercise mixed with moderate intensity so that you can get the most bang for your buck and burn more calories in less time. The American College of Sports and Medicine just released updated recommendations for exercise guidelines:
ĒAdults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (3 days per week)Ē.
The takeaway here is, if you only get to the gym once or twice a week, make sure that you incorporate vigorous-intensity exercise. You can still get great benefits as long as the intensity level is there. Go hard then go home.
Moderation. Thereís nothing better than a summer cookout, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, and kielbasa (my favorite) and of course, roasting marshmallows over the fire. You canít burn off a bad diet, especially if youíre not getting to the gym as often in the summer months. The key is portion control. Indulging on your favorite foods doesnít have to be a guilt-ridden experience, as long as youíre careful about how much you eat. Be proactive. If youíre going to a cookout, be the one to bring a healthy dish or colorful fruit platter. When choosing what goes on your plate, add small portions of your favorites as well as healthy choices. If youíre headed to the beach, pack a cooler filled with healthy snacks: fruits, veggies, crackers and hummus. Seasonal fruits like watermelon will help to keep you hydrated while soaking up the sun. Having healthy choices on hand for you and the kids will make the ice cream truck much more of a treat, as it should be.
Drink plenty of water. Water is still the best way to stay hydrated and regulate body temperature. Pay attention to clues that you may be dehydrated. Extreme thirst, lack of sweating and a deep orange color in your urine can all be signs that your body is dehydrated. When youíre well hydrated, your urine will be light yellow or clear. You should try to drink half of your bodyweight in ounces. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water per day. In the excessive heat, you may need to drink even more due to water loss in sweat. Along with staying hydrated, water consumption can help facilitate muscle growth, remove toxins and acid from the kidney, improve brain function, aid in food digestion and increase oxygen to the blood. Try to stay away from sugary drinks. You donít need the extra calories if you are lounging on a beach. Sports drinks are only necessary if you are performing high intensity exercise for more than 90 min.
Cherish quality time with family and friends. When we talk about health and fitness, we often refer to the physical appearance of our bodies, but itís important to remember that overall wellness is also about emotional health. Creating lasting memories with the ones we love will enrich our lives way more than a set of rock hard abs. In twenty years, I would rather look back at a picture of myself with my daughters, ice cream dripping off of our faces, than a picture of me alone, hoping I look skinny in the photo. I have the rest of my life to worry about being skinny. My girls will grow up, move away and live on their own (fingers crossed).
By all means, enjoy your summer with family and friends, but remember play often to keep your body active, make your workouts count when you do get to the gym and indulge in moderation so that all your hard work doesnít go to waste and land on your waist.
ACE/AFAA Personal Trainer
Womanís Workout Company
|Do a True "Warm Up"
Today weíll continue our look at common gym mistakes. Letís talk aboutÖ
Warming up Dynamically
Most people would agree that walking into the health club and engaging in vigorous exercise without a warm up period is not a good idea. While warming up is an accepted practice, the how and the why are often lost on the average fitness enthusiast. Letís start with the why. All of our time is limited to varying degrees. Why waste it on a mini workout before our workout even begins? Why not just walk into the club, grab that kettlebell and start swinging it like our lives depended on it?
Getting our body ready to move safely through the planes of motion we plan to use will both reduce post exercise soreness, as well as the potential for injury. Who wants to be sore and who wants to get hurt? Nobody! Other benefits of a proper warn up include.
ē Increased movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
ē Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles
ē Prepares your muscles for stretching
ē Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure
ē Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
ē Improved coordination and reaction times
Okay so warming up is pretty cool. But how do we do it properly? Is it walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes? I suppose thatís a start if youíre preparing your heart and muscles to walk on the treadmill. Is it ten minutes of static stretching? Well our muscles arenít primed yet so are they even ready to be stretched? Is that even safe? No theyíre not. And no itís not. The answer is to warm up dynamically. We want a warm up that gradually increases our core body temperature while taking our body through movement patterns that mimic the exercises to come as well as increase our flexibility. Replace static stretching with dynamic movements that lightly stretch you as you move.
Youíre not only warming up your muscles, but also your mind. The warm up is your transition from the stress of day to day life to the release of exercise. Use your warm up as a way to get progressively more focused on the work to come. Iíve included a sample video of a great dynamic warm up from fitness guru Todd Durkin. It accomplishes all the goals above. Feel free to grab a Coach in the gym and ask how to best prime that engine.
Womanís Workout Company Trainer
|Train Movements not Muscles
Today weíll continue our look at common
gym mistakes. Letís talk aboutÖ
Train Movements not Muscles
Not incorporating some form of functional training into your workouts is often a primary reason there is a disconnect between your gym results and day to day life. While some people truly treat fitness as a hobby, most people are grunting and sweating to enhance their lives outside of the gym. This varies wildly from the competitive athlete, to the grandmother that merely wants to be more mobile to play with her grand kids. There are a lot of people out there that are absolute beasts in the gym but then get winded playing with their kids for ten minutes. Whatís the point of a nice lean physique if you canít do anything with it?
Functional training is a huge buzzword in the fitness world right now. Because of that, everyone seems to have their own version of exactly what it means. Simply put, Functional training is creating or modifying exercise protocols to enhance the activities of your day to day life. The old axiom at most gyms required you to push or pull generally on only one plain of motion. Would this make you stronger? Sure. Particularly at those specific exercises. Though that style of training has its merits, it doesnít accurately mimic how your body moves in real life. Machines that limit your range of motion and donít allow your body to experience resistance in all three planes of motion will have less of an effect on true strength. Isolating your biceps during a curl trains individual muscles. Working your biceps, lats, and core during a pull up trains movement. There is a reason kettlebells and the TRX suspension system are so huge right now. They afford you a freedom of movement that until recently, was lost in most gyms.
Who wants to go to the gym, work hard and actually perform their day to day activity or sport more efficiently? Who wants to create movement patterns that will make them less prone to injury? Who wants to make all the time invested in the gym worth it? Functional Training is the key. Take your results beyond the mirror and the scale.
Womanís Workout Company Trainer
|Not doing Resistance Training
|Today we are continuing our look at common mistakes to avoid in the gym. Today we will focus on resistance training. More specificallyÖ.
Not doing Resistance Training
What is resistance training? Simply put, resistance training is a form of strength training in which each effort is performed against a specific opposing force generated by resistance. This resistance can be in the form of a weight like a kettlebell, dumbbell, etc. or simply be overcoming your own body weight. Too often I see women logging countless hours on the treadmill while looking at the rows of dumbbells and kettlebells with confusion, even fear. There seems to be a prevailing sentiment in our female culture that you can treadmill your way to your ideal body. This couldnít be farther from the truth.
Why is resistance training important? First and foremost it will enhance your day to day life by making you stronger and more durable. You will be less susceptible to injury as your bone density increases and your connective tissues get stronger. Not enough? How about the million dollar answer; you will lose body fat! Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. I know what youíre thinking. Thatís only 1.5 pounds of weight loss. Yet when you factor in the aesthetic implications of that change youíll see that while the scale may not change much, your clothes will start to feel a little looser. Itís true that muscle weighs more than fat. Yet it is also much more compact and therefore takes up much less space. Refer to the picture included with this blog and you can imagine the difference altering your fat to muscle ratio can make to your appearance. You will also spike your resting metabolism the more lean muscle you have and will in turn burn more calories all day long. How much more? Generally you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day for every pound of muscle you gain. That can add up.
But if you play with the big girl weights youíll get bulky and look like a man right? WRONG! Female bodybuilders that strength train all day and are filled to the brim with body chemistry altering steroids have made the average woman terrified of lifting more than a few pounds. Compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause muscle growth. Which is why, unless you take something to alter that balance you will gain lean toned muscle but not bulk up.
The benefits of resistance training for women cannot be ignored. Want to lessen your risk of osteoporosis? Check. Want to build lean tone muscle while lowering your body fat? Check. Want to get stronger and make daily activity easier? Check. Want to step off the treadmill and supercharge your fitness? Check Check Check. Pick up the big girl weights and create a whole new you.
Womanís Workout Company Trainer
|Top 5 Gym Mistakes
|Have you been in the gym for countless months without making much progress? Why am I not losing weight? Why am I not getting stronger, faster, etc.? If you find yourself pondering these questions maybe youíre making some very common gym mistakes. Over the next 5 weeks we will posting our top 5 mistakes made in the gym. They are in no particular order. Todayís mistake isÖ
Only working what youíre good at
Every gym goer from the novice to the advanced has certain exercises that they like. More often than not they tend to be very good at these movements. And too often these exercises end up being the foundation of all their workouts. The more challenging movements are done less or not at all. Because of this lack of attention these movements generally donít improve. This lack of improvement is often seen in their overall fitness as well do to a lack of challenging stimuli for their body.
At most female health clubs itís not uncommon to see a line at the leg press and adductor and abductor machines only to see tumble weeds blowing by the deserted squat, deadlift, and pull up stations. Youíll see a lot of women doing crunches until their faces are red when there is an unused slam ball and Kettlebell rack right next to them. Working your body with new movements that challenge you is what exercise is designed for. Your body adapts to stimuli that go beyond what it is used to. Essentially it will adjust to the new norm. When we workout this week lets step out of our comfort zone and add in two movements that really challenge us. Youíll be amazed at the results.
Womanís Workout Company Trainer
|A letter to everyone who has tried fitness and failed,
|Stop whining, get over it, we all fail at one time or another. There has never been a woman in fitness, no matter how good a shape she might be in today, who hasnít stumbled over a bag of chips, a bowl of ice cream or a cocktail or two.
The difference between someone who is successful at fitness and their personal quest for health as compared to the average middle-aged, overweight, prematurely matronly woman (yes, I am speaking to that national statistic we all want to avoid) is that temporary failure is a motivator to succeed even more tomorrow rather than an excuse to give up and walk away now and forever.
Most importantly, stop using temporary failure as your excuse to give up on yourself completely. Fitness is not a destination, it is a journey, and like any journey there are bad parts of the trip surrounded by all the good days.
The self-generated fiction women use to convince themselves that something about them is different, is worse than the nonsense you find on television. One woman I recently ran into at a restaurant told me that she was a member 10 years ago but quit because she became busy and gained a few pounds back and told me that she felt like a failure. That was 10 years ago and she still isnít back to working out!
Is there anything in your life that is a guaranteed 100% success with no bumps or bad days? Is your career without bumps? Is your marriage without a few stressful days? And we all know that raising kids is simple and easy and there are never any bad days there, right?
At WWC, we seek a healthier lifestyle for all women and not a purist version that is compromised with a donut on Saturday. We all stumble, we all fail but the ones that win, and enjoy a better body and radiant health, are the ones that work everyday to get it right but who also realize that sometimes the best you are that day is not perfect, just human. In fact, there are days where I might do a little extra workout just so I can have that glass of wine and pizza knowing that I am still on the right track to a healthier life.
Now is the time to be honest with yourself. Are you using a past failure in fitness to fail for life or are you fighting the good fight everyday and realizing that most days you win but some days just arenít perfect? If you are the woman who realizes that the most important goal is to live everyday just a little bit better, then you have a home and we canít wait for you to come and join us.